Everyone loves positive feedback. It feels good and often confirms your own assessment of your performance. You think you’ve done good job and now you know. When we were in school, we could use grades or the teachers’ comments as benchmarks for our performance. But there are times, in our work or personal life, where there is no feedback. For example, you may have given a presentation at work and there are no comments from your boss and colleagues either positive or negative. Or, you teach a yoga class, and no students say “Great class” or “Thank you.” SO, the question becomes how do you know how you did?
When we become dependent on external feedback for self-esteem, we can develop what’s known as a contingent self-worth. Contingent self worth is a positive sense of self that exists only with the praise and attention of others. Without that praise and attention, there is low self-esteem.
Because others aren’t always around to share their evaluation of our performance and praise is not always forthcoming, it’s important to develop your own standards for excellence.
Before you give your next presentation, write out the characteristics of an excellent one, e.g.s, engaged the audience, confident delivery, clear content, insightful analysis, short and to the point. After the presentation, compare your performance to those criteria. Give yourself realistic feedback.
For work performance in general, decide what behaviors add up to excellence. For example, quick response time to clients or managers, stays current with industry knowledge. Give yourself monthly or quarterly reviews, acknowledging areas where you excelled and areas for development.
Equipped with your own standards, you can optimize performance without praise and feedback.
Dr. Lisa Napolitano is an expert in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and other mindfulness-based treatments. A licensed psychologist in New York and Florida, she is the Founder and Director of CBT/DBT Associates, a boutique psychology practice group. Dr. Napolitano is an expert in the treatment of stress, anxiety, worry, and emotion regulation problems. She has specifically designed her treatment approach for executives, attorneys, and other high-functioning individuals whom she believes shouldn’t have to sacrifice their careers to manage their stress and work on developing their potential.